I think we've all seen it, the woman tottering around a theme park in five inch heels, or the little girl in those cheap plastic dress up shoes. After a little while, I'm pretty sure they were regretting that footwear choice, but what can you do when you're in the middle of doing stuff, and there's no shoe store right near by?
To save your feet, or those of your little princess, you need to plan ahead.
Going to a theme park there is a lot of walking. When you are enjoying yourself, you don't really notice how much you walk, but at a Disney theme park, 7- 10 miles in a day is pretty common. If you are in the wrong kind of shoes though, the swelling, the blistering, the pinching and the agony is going to make each step feel like a million. Let's toss out some quick tips to make sure that isn't you!
Don't start off the day wearing any shoe that pinches, is made of plastic, has a heel, or is brand new, thinking you'll “break” it in. The only thing breaking is going to be the skin on your foot, and then? OUCH! Ditto on wearing shoes that are worn out. Anything with a hole in the bottom, worn out tread or those holes that get worn into the back where you Achilles tendon is are going to give you some major foot pain.
If you want your feet to look cute, there are several brands of flats and sandals that are cute and comfy for all day wear. They aren't all with expensive price tags, either! Much to my surprise, after a woman encouraged me in walmart of all places last year to try a particular kind of sandals she swore by I did, and bought a pair of the Earth Spirit brand shoes. Let me tell you, when they came back again this season I bought 8 pairs in all kinds of designs. Why? Because other than my beloved Mootsie Tootsies I have worn holes in (three times now, and now can't find any more! :( ) I can wear these all day, and not have any foot pain. That's AMAZING to me, considering I have some scar tissue on the ball of one foot from a debris removal gone wrong. Usually, my foot hurts, but with these shoes, they don't.
Don't forget a good pair of sneakers too, for the park. With memory foam and gel being common insoles now, those are designed to last the day without wearing out your feet and knees.
Always wear socks with your sneakers. Always. Like I tell my superhero loving kids, socks are
like a shield. They protect you from all kind of things, blisters, bug bites, scrapes.
If your feet tend to sweat a lot, or if you love water rides and are content to walk around with soggy foot gear til the sun dries them, I would suggest dry wicking socks. Those are going to not only dry a little faster, but also help prevent the afore mentioned blisters!
It's important to take a few minutes here and there to give your feet a little break. Even if you can go all day, it doesn’t mean you should. Rest for a few minutes, but please, whatever you do, don't be like those people you see soaking their feet in the Disney fountains. Have a little more class. And yes, I am judging them because their icky feet are in the water that all these little toddlers want to touch and marvel at and then those little fingers go into their mouthes... So just don't.
Think back ups!
Ever been in a sudden downpour that soaked you head to toe and you knew that was the only pair of shoes you had for the whole week? Yeah. Me too. Lesson learned. Bring a second pair of shoes, so when the skimpy hotel hair dryer can't get them all the way dry, you aren't starting off in a potential blister situation at rope drop.
What does hydration have to do with feet? Lots! It's easy not to drink when you are focused on getting from one place to the next, but drinking aplenty is going to actually help keep your feet from swelling, especially if you like to eat salty snacks while walking about. You can go here to read the early warning signs of dehydration.
Ok, it's too late, you've got blisters and bruises. Now what? Don't worry. Disney Magic Mommy has a plan. Remember that awesome first aid kit I carry around?
I stock up on all the essentials before a Disney trip, and foot treatments are no exception. You really don't need much, but it's amazing how a few little things can come in handy. Carry a few of these around, and you'll be golden.
Bandaids, moleskin and corn pads are all superb for protecting a blister or when something starts to rub against your shoe. There have been several times I've used one of the corn pads, or built a little square of moleskin to pad an area that's starting to hurt, like the ball of my foot. It's so simple, but it works.
Say you forgot to bring anything with you in the park, and your little toe is starting to get rubbed pretty bad? Stop by any of the first aid stations, and they’ll give you a free bandaid. It might not have Mickey on it, but it's going to help stop the hurt!
Now if you really want to have your photos with the uncomfortable shoes, or your child insists that the Cinderella slippers MUST stay on, ok, but bring a pair for backup. Trust me on this....it won't be long before your feet, (or hers) will be thanking you. After all, it's hard to enjoy a day at the theme parks when you are having to carry someone, or be carried!
This week the topic for the Wordless Wednesday hosted by Focused on the Magic was Adventure!
Animal Kingdom is the first (though, tied with Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, naturally) when I think about Adventure. The newest area in Animal Kingdom is indeed an adventure waiting to happen! Pandora is full of exotic plants and creatures, both real and imagined as well as the entire landscape being created from something that only existed as CGI. That alone amazes me each time I think about it. Definitely an adventure to explore.
This is part two of a three part series. You can read parts one and parts three here (when published)
Now that you are almost an expert from reading the Introduction to Pin Trading, and you've learned how much fun it can be on your trip, there's a few more things to add on! A few Do's and a few Don'ts!
Do have fun
Don't take it too seriously
Do stop to look at pin boards
Don't worry if you miss out on a trade: You'll find it again later!
Do know the rules
Don't go crazy buying every pin you see at first
Do be careful buying pins online if you can't see the exact pins you are getting
Don't forget to ask to if there are pin boards. Some stores have hidden shields, hats, plush's and all kinds of other things with pins on them, but you have to ask!
Do have a way to carry around your pins and keep your traders separate from your keepers
Don't grab at a Cast Member's lanyard of pins or try to remove one!
Do remember your manners. A “May I see your pins, please” is a lot nicer than yanking the lanyard on someone's neck and choking them
Don't hand over a pin for a trade with the Mickey back off. OUCH!
Do have fun. That's the first, last, and most important rule!
Are you ready to go do some trading now? It's okay if you aren't near a park...next week I give tips and ideas on how to trade pins outside of the parks!
If I said to you, it was possible to feel amazingly peaceful while thousands of people wandered around the same place as you, you might think I was crazy. It's true though. The Japanese pavilion at Epcot was incredibly peaceful feeling, and if we had had more time, I would have loved to linger over the gardens and explore the nooks and hidden places most people overlook. It was truly a breathtaking, and peaceful place while I look forward to going back to.
The architecture was impressive, and each detail attended to, even the lines from the rapes in the zen garden.
This last photo I took when my oldest pointed out the hidden Mickey, but it reminds me so much of those leaves floating in a puddle of water that you see in some photographs, and I think this will be a favorite for years to come.
Do you think you would have wanted to stay here awhile, too?
A pretty common question I get asked is how much money should I plan for when I'm at Disney World?
Really, the answer is going to vary as to your personal needs and wants, but here's a few categories to keep in mind when trying to estimate how much to allow in the “extras” budget.
Tipping-- If you get Table Service meals, you will need to tip. Disney will automatically add that to your ticket if you are in a part of 6 or more. Of course, you can always tip higher, or lower. While you can do that with cash, it might just be easier to put it on your credit card or use your magic band. Unless you decide what you want to eat ahead of time, you might not be able to figure out the gratuity amount until you are there. That said, you can still get a general idea by looking at the menus ahead of time which is always a good idea to do.
Mousekeeping-- There are a lot of opinions on tipping Mousekeeping. Some people do, some people don't. To be honest, our first trip I did not. It didn't even occur to me. On our second trip, the woman who cleaned our room was so nice and helpful, and she made several towel animals for the boys, but I didn't have much cash on me so I only left a tip at the end. Ever since I've kind of been annoyed with myself for that, because what if she wasn't the person who cleaned our room that last day? She wouldn't get the tip even though she did most of the work. This last time, I was prepared. And had little bundles (you can go here to read the article on tipping with examples) one for each night of our stay. While no, it's not necessary, since we were there several days, I just think it's something nice to do for the person who picks up our soggy towels and makes the bed. It can be an icky job at times I'll bet, and a little thank you might brighten up their day. I'm actually glad I did tip daily, because we had 3 different people cleaning our room. (Sadly, only the first lady did anything special with the towels. We had a man right up til the end and while it was clean, it wasn't “extra magical” like the first lady had done.)
While we are all about saving money on our trip, it's not at the expense of showing gratitude towards someone else, it's something that we are able to do because we have saved money on our trip. Check out some of these adorable ones Mousekeeping thank you envelopes Pinterest links to! Mine were not that awesome, but it's fun to see them! For tipping, the general guidelines are about a dollar a day, per person.
Souvenirs-- Whew! This category depends on if you are a shopper, or if you are just a looker! It's really easy to get carried away here! So I’m breaking this up into Kids and Adults.
Kids – What we do with the kids is give them $50 each from Mommy and Daddy but they also have to save up ahead of time. Since it's hard for kids to do that on their own, I just make it mandatory. A year or so before we leave, each allowance it's $1 into the vacation jar. When their Granddaddy sends them a little extra for Easter, or Halloween, they usually put that in there too. I try to encourage them to do some extra jobs and put money in there, because once they are there, that $50 from Mommy and Daddy really won't go too far if they want a big thing. I'm not mean though, I don't stick firm to that $50, if it totals $55 or something. And they know, if they really, really want something, chances are good I'll pick it up and set it aside for Birthday or Christmas. If you have kids too young to understand saving and spending, their saving up won't really apply, but if you have older kids, it sure doesn't hurt to have them save up a little allowance since you're the one paying for the trip! My oldest whispered to me our first day there, “Wow Mommy, you are right. Once we got here, we do want everything.” He was extra glad he had saved up so much!
Adults-- We actually plan out about $100 for each of us out of our vacation budget. We sometimes spend more though, because during a Disney vacation year, we don't get each other Mothers Day, Father Day or Birthday gifts, since those dates fall on either side of the trip. Instead, we take another $100 or so, to pick out some things that catch our eye down there. Anything above that, we use our personal spending money on. Both my husband and I tend to get things that are smaller in size and meaningful, or practical, like kitchen things or a wallet for me. I love things that bring the Disney Magic into our every day. You might be different, you might want to get a really nice handbag, some new shirts or even spend it all on experiences while you are there. Be sure to give yourself enough fun money though if you can't get to Disney often so you can enjoy splurging on things to give you Disney memories until the time time you go back. Frequent visitors may not really want to spend much, because they go so often and have it already.
Pressed Pennies and Quarters-- If you or your little people like pressed pennies, you are in luck! Those machines are everywhere, however a lot of people don't think to carry change around with them. Be sure to have quarters and pennies with you. They are slowly adding some machines that you can pay with a credit card, but those really aren’t as fun as the old fashioned hand crank kinds. Because it's very easy to do those machines mindlessly, if you have little kids who want to do it, just to do it, setting a limit might be a good idea, say, two or three times each a day so you don't blink, and realize you spend $20 on a handful of pressed pennies. (Unless you collect them, or make jewelry with them, of course!)
Meals and Snacks-- If you have the Disney Dining Plan, you won't really need to worry about extra money for meals and snacks, because the portions at Disney are so generous, and most of the time the heat also keeps your appetite smaller. If you aren't on the plan, you can get a good idea of the menu prices beforehand. Quick service you can get an entree, like a burger and fries, and a soda for around $15. Table service of course will be more, but chances are, you aren’t going to want to have that much cash on you. Snacks can be a dollar and up. If you do have the Disney Dining Plan, to make the most of your money, go for the snacks that are generally $5 and up. If you want a banana, go ahead...but pay out of pocket. That $2 isn't a good use of your snack credit. Save that credit for an eclair over at the France Pavilion in Epcot. You can go HERE to read more about the Disney Dining Plan and HERE to read more about Disney Dining Plan Tips and Tricks! so you can maximize your credits!
Specialty Drinks-- If you love fancy coffees, or want to sample some International adult drinks at Epcot, be sure to add that to your budget. Alcohol is not included in the Disney Dining Plan for 2017, though in 2018 it will be, however the drinks at Starbucks (even the biggest ones!) and milkshakes and some frozen drinks throughout the park are a snack credit and are a good value.
Laundry-- Some people do their laundry on vacation. Disney doesn't charge an arm or a leg to take advantage of that. Personally, it's not something we do because it's vacation, I'd rather be finding a Dole Whip or doing some Pin Trading than laundry, but sometimes you just need to wash something. At last I saw, it was $2 to wash, $2 to dry, and $1 for detergent. Or, you could just bring a little bit of detergent from home.
Misc cash-- There is a restaurant in Disney Springs we love to go to, Wolfgang Puck's Express. While it's not table service, it's not quite counter service either. You order, but they bring you your food, and stop by to see if you need a drink refill. We can use it on the Quick Service Dining Plan, so we aren't paying out of pocket. A lot of people don't tip there, but we do. It's usually just $5 or so, but we specifically make sure we have a little cash in our backpack for things like that.
While at Disney, is really is possible to go the whole time wallet free and with just your magic band. If you don't have one, your credit card will do, but it also doesn't hurt to have a few dollars in cash with you. You never know when you'll spot something and you can't use your magic band to pay. You might run into a tip jar at an ice cream place, so a few ones tucked in your pocket could be helpful.
When you are planning your trip, don't forget to think about these kinds of expenses when making your budget. It's better to overestimate how much you will spend and come home under budget, then to get home and faint when the credit card bill comes in!
Have I left out anything that you budget for your time on a trip? What's your biggest splurge, or your biggest save when you go to Disney?